Tips for an Accounting Firm Strategic Plan for Tax Resolution
As with any business, it takes strategic tax resolution marketing to attract clients. Mix up your marketing techniques with traditional direct mail marketing, digital marketing, testimonials, email campaigns, social media, and social media branding for greatest conversions and ROI.
Times have changed - hanging a shingle on a downtown business location is no longer enough to attract clients to your tax resolution business. Nowadays, with competition stiff, it takes a strategic marketing plan. Whether you are launching a start-up or scrambling to bring in more clients, you’ll need to focus on a well-laid out plan.
Tax resolution businesses are becoming more commonplace. It has become a popular add-on to tax businesses or to provide as a solo service. For an ambitious tax preparer, it's the perfect time to enjoy a lucrative business if you focus on positioning yourself ahead of your competition.
Tax Resolution Strategy
Adding tax resolution services to your business or creating it as your primary offering, holds the promise of a six-figure income. The roadmap to success will have a lot of twists and turns. Some of the roads might be a little bumpy and others provide a comfortable ride, but in the end you’ll achieve a successful business with a solid foundation built on customer satisfaction.
Whether you are a CPA, EA, or attorney, who wants to start or have launched a tax resolution business, you’ll want to devise a tax resolution strategy.
Learn About Your Target Market
Owing money to the IRS is a stressful situation for most people. Owing a large amount of money is both emotionally and financially crippling. When you create marketing materials and campaigns for tax resolution services, you’ll want to target your client’s emotions. Let them know that you understand their concerns and pain. Imagine how your client feels when they receive a letter from the IRS, have their paycheck garnished, or receive notification their bank account is levied.
People seeking tax resolutions services contact your office when they are in a crisis and need help. You want them to know you are a professional who understands their precarious position and you can help them.
When targeting your market, you’ll want to provide them with valuable information that they can read, watch, or listen to. When a prospective client enters your office, you’ll want to find common ground and quickly build a rapport of trust. Talk about your experience and let them know you can truly relate to their struggles.
Think about why someone might not want to use you for their tax resolution problems.
- Simply not interested in your services.
- Cannot afford your services.
- Lack faith in your ability to gain them the results they seek.
Now you'll want to alleviate their concerns whether in a marketing campaign, brochures, mailers, newsletters, social media, emails, or via your website. Testimonials are a strong asset to any tax resolution strategy.
If a person reads a testimonial from a person in their city who shares their similar problem, then they can automatically relate which quickly piques their interest.
- Always include testimonials in your marketing materials.
- Pick testimonials that are powerful and relatable.
- Avoid overly long testimonials.
- Include a sentence or two that outlines the backstory.
- Have a before statement that explains the tax liability and then an after statement that shows how you helped to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of your client.
Ask every client to take the time to fill out a client survey. The key questions to include in each survey are:
- How long have you been a client?
- How do you feel about the services provided by the firm?
- Describe an experience that you have had with the firm that made you happy.
- Are there any office procedures that can be changed to better meet your needs?
- What are the benefits of the firm?
- Were you happy with the resolution you received?
When requesting a testimonial, always think about timing. Try to give them the survey after their levy is released, their bank garnishment is lifted or when their case is settled. Send out the survey to every client. Do not miss a client. Even if you receive bad feedback, it is still useful to help you improve your services.
Direct Mail Marketing
It’s easy to jump right into email campaigns and digital marketing, but sometimes affordable, traditional direct mail marketing is just as effective as the trendy modern methods. Yes, everyone has a smartphone, tablet, and computer. Most people spend hours per day using social media or checking their email so it’s easy to go directly to digital marketing and overlook the tried-and-true methods.
In today’s tech savvy world, some people actually feel overwhelmed with businesses reaching out via their electronic devices and social media profiles. They have started to tune out the intrusions, but when something arrives via old-fashioned U.S. mail that feels personal then people instantly pay attention.
Direct mail is actually popular because it is unpopular! It’s the method’s unpopularity that is making it stand out. Businesses are simply not using direct mail marketing the way they used to.
When a person receives a physical piece of mail, they actually feel attached to it and even a little sentimental. They can actually hold the envelope in their hands while standing beside the mailbox. It grabs their attention.
Studies have shown that most people receive a personalized piece of mail only every 62 days. Mailboxes are relatively uncluttered nowadays. Some bills still arrive via U.S. mail, but most people conduct online bill pay so even statements are becoming outdated. When someone receives something, and they view it as personal, then they actually pay attention to the mail item. Direct mail done right works!
Here are a few tips on how to conduct direct mail:
- Always offer something - do not use direct mail to sell something.
- Think lead generation - you want to generate leads and not actually sell something.
- Encourage the receiver to pick up the phone or email for more information.
- Have a clear call to action.
- Provide multiple ways to respond to the offer - in person, email, phone call, text message.
- Send out the direct mail messages to only a small group of people - start out with 500.
- Make sure the mailer does not look like junk mail or people will throw it away.
Think about the design of the letter. You want it to look like a personalized letter. Use a cursive font in blue ink to outline the recipient's information. For the sender information, simply have your business address. Hopefully, your business is local so the recipient will take notice of the local address. You should not use your business name, or they might throw away the letter as a piece of junk mail.
Use a single stamp so the letter feels more personal and real - less like junk mail! Remember, the goal is to always have the recipient take the time to open the letter. If a person does not see a stamp on the envelope, then they usually think it is junk mail and chuck it without ever opening the item.
You will send several letters over the course of a few months to grab the recipient's attention. Remember, you are not selling a product but making an offer. Hopefully, go with a dated offer so there is a sense of urgency attached and the person knows they have a date they must reach out by, or they will not gain the promised offer. Have a push call to action that provides clear directives.
The directives in order of popularity include encouraging the recipient to:
- Make a phone call
- Reach out via email
- Visit a URL
- Physically visit the practice
As tax season draws closer, you should evaluate the map where you will launch your direct mail campaign. Are you going to target individuals or businesses? After COVID-19, many businesses are hurting and can benefit from a direct mail campaign that focuses on discounts for taxes. You can do a direct mail campaign to the hardest hit businesses encouraging them to seek your tax resolution services. The success rate for business-to-business is actually very impressive.
How Do You Know if Direct Mail Marketing is Successful?
Unfortunately, many businesses fail to track the success of direct mail campaigns.
Let's look at how to determine if your direct mail marketing is successful.
- You send out 1000 personalized letters.
- From those 1000 letters, three people call you.
- The 1000 letters cost about $1 per letter for a total of around $1100.
- You get one client from the three that call you.
- That one client ends up requiring $27,000 worth of tax assistance from you.
- Your return on investment for those 1000 letters is roughly 26 to 1.
Clearly, the direct mail campaign was a success even with a single client!
When launching a direct mail campaign, pay attention to the following:
- Know the number of flyers you sent out.
- Trace the cost per lead.
- Cost per acquisition.
- Follow things through all the way to conversion.
Remember, high value service buyers’ equal real dollars!
When conducting a direct mail marketing campaign, you’ll want to take off the accountant hat and put on the business hat. Always stay the course for at least 90 days as you wait for clients to reach out to you from your direct mail marketing campaign. If you remain consistent for at least three months then things will pencil out and you will make money, even if you only gain a client or two.
Tricks of Direct Mail Marketing
- Make it look like personal mail.
- Avoid bulk mail postage- use a physical stamp.
- Make sure it looks like a real letter.
- Use a font that looks like handwriting for address and return address.
- Avoid using a logo or people will think it looks like a credit card application or some other form of junk mail.
- Mail to the right person at the right time.
- Send several letters over the course of a few minutes - repetition grabs attention.
What about newsletters? Should you send them out to bring in clients to your tax resolution business? Yes, newsletter marketing does work. However, the ROI is hard to trace, but most people swear by it. The total cost of sending out a newsletter each month is usually about $1 per newsletter so if you get one client from the newsletter then it was worth the process.
Optimize Your Website
A website is a necessity and no longer an option for any business. You’ll want to create a responsive, user-friendly website that is visually appealing. It should run well via a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Being mobile friendly is essential since most people visit websites via their phone.
Ensure that your company’s website is SEO (search engine optimization) friendly. Take the time to track your website’s performance.
Ideally, you should employ the help of a digital marketing agency to ensure that your website will rank well on a search engine that is performing well. Investing in digital marketing is considered money well spent for any business.
Always take the time to register your business with Google My Business. Have your phone number on your website and enable the click to call function so that a customer can quickly find your contact information when searching online and then reach you by making a quick call.
Embrace social media
Social media platforms are a great marketing tool, and you can also cultivate your brand identity by relating to your clients on a more personal level. Studies have shown that 68% of Americans use social media, specifically Facebook followed by LinkedIn and Twitter. You can use social media to grow your audience and market your business services.
Email marketing is a great tool to use with a nice return on investment. For every dollar you spend, you can expect an average return of $38 according to studies. You can grow your business by as much as 80% by driving customers and creating retention.
Use marketing software to send out hundreds of emails from your customer database and send out mass emails that contain exclusive offers. Ideally, you should send from two to four emails per month to keep your customers engaged.
Whether you operate a solo practice or you head up a bustling practice, firm owners need to know their KPIs for marketing success. To generate healthy profit margins and cash flow then you have to know your numbers like the back of your hand.
As a tax resolution business owner, you’ll want to keep track of certain key indicators. Measure the performance of your marketing and sales efforts so you know you are on the right track to growing your business.
- CPL (Cost per Lead): Always take the time to divide the total dollars you spend on a marketing or advertising campaign by the leads you generate using the tax resolution strategy. Ideally, your CPL should be around $100 to $200.
- CPA (Cost per Acquisition/New Client): Divide the total you spend on a specific marketing strategy by the total number of clients that the campaign generates. Ideally, your CPA should be no more than $667 to $1,000. Typically, a tax resolution client has a minimum value of $5,000 to you, so you don't want to spend more than the client’s value.
- ACV (Average Case Value): Divide the value of all new business you receive from the particular strategy by the number of clients you gain from the campaign. An ACV should be between the $5,000 to $8,000 range.
- RPL (Revenue per Lead): Divide the total revenue you receive from a specific campaign by the total number of leads generated. A RPL should be in the $1,000 range.
- PSR (Pipeline Size per Rep/Salesperson): Determine how many prospective clients or cases and then the value of each so you know what each rep has in their pipeline, and you can stay abreast of the situation. Divide the number of new clients and cases by the days it takes to create a lead and take it to close. Ideally, your ALT (average length of sales cycle/transaction) should be zero to 30 days. If your ALT runs more than 30 days, then you will want to revisit your sales/closing process to figure out the problem.
Key Performance Indicators
The key performance indicators let you know how well your marketing is performing. Consider the following KPI’s that will help you spot trends and make corrections to your marketing.
How many converted leads are actually qualified prospects? Just because the pipeline is full does not mean they are quality and will result in clients. All leads are not equal, and some leads will never close or will close only at a slow rate.
- How many leads convert into closed sales?
- How much revenue are you generating per day, per week, per month, per quarter?
- How much revenue did you make this week, month, quarter or in the last year?
- What is your rolling three month and six-month average revenue number and how does it stand up to last years?
Which type of cases have the highest close rates? Which ones render the lowest close rates? Think about what ACVs are and why.
Take the Time to Pick Up the Phone
One of the greatest ways you can help your tax resolution strategy work is to make yourself available and pick up the phone when it rings. You’d be amazed how many business owners fail to pick up the phone and instead let it go to voicemail with the so-called promise of a return call. If you fail to pick up the phone, then you might lose the would-be client because they might not want to leave a message. Instead, they will hang up and call your competition.
Remember, You Are Not in the Tax Resolution Business
Okay, you are probably scratching your head over this one because you are a tax resolution business owner or you are offering tax resolution as an added service to your accounting, legal, or tax services. However, if you focus on only being a tax resolution business then you won’t lead in your profession. Instead, you have to break away from your profession and think that you are actually in the marketing business. Your first and most important job function is to market your business!
Every day, take 45 to 60 minutes to focus on marketing your business. If you continue to spend time each day working on marketing and devising your strategic tax resolution plan, then it will become a habit in about 21 days. You can really bring a great deal of value to your business by focusing on marketing and bringing in a steady stream of new clients.
Say No When Needed
Tax resolution is a collaborative project between you and your client. You both must show commitment. Sometimes, you’ll encounter a client who does not want to pay your fees, wastes time negotiating prices and avoids taking your advice. These are all huge red flags. This type of client will end up complaining and monopolizing your time. You need to weed out clients based on the amount of work and how much of a pain they might become. Not all clients are fit for your skills or personality. It’s okay to say ‘no’ when needed.
About one in 50 people have some sort of IRS problem, so if you have to turn away a difficult client then another one will fill their place. It just takes time and marketing to gain a steady stream of clients.
With the above tax resolution tips on successful marketing, you can quickly grow your business and expand your bottom line.
Members of IRS Solutions receive exclusive promotional materials to use with their clients such as the following:
- Social media graphics
- Marketing calendar
- Email headers
- Appointment reminders
- Invoice stuffers
- Referral coupons
- Appointment checklists and more!
Contact IRS Solutions to learn more about our software which includes handy marketing tools designed specifically for tax resolution businesses. We can help you be more strategic with your tax resolution services.
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